Xp Agile Universe Oh Four

See also XpAgileUniverseTwoThousandFour
If you attended XP/Agile Universe 2004, please share your experiences. If you didn't get to go, this page should give you some of the highlights. This year's theme seemed to be Crossing the Chasm

We are interested in bullet-point rundowns of the activities, including tutorials and workshops. Leaders, please let your attendees describe your session. This is not meant to be a reproduction of the proceedings.

We are especially interested in anything powerful or surprising that you learned along the way. Was there something unexpected in a tutorial or workshop that caught your attention and has stuck with you?


Keynote by Christopher Avery, "Ultimate Agility" (Monday morning)
Keynote by Mary Poppendieck, "Crossing the Chasm" (Monday morning)
Keynote by Bob Martin, "Kepler's Care" (Tuesday at dinner)
Keynote by Brian Marick, "Undoing Testing in Agile Projects" (Wednesday morning)
Keynote by Craig Larman, "History and Evidence: Iterative and Evolutionary versus the Waterfall" (Wednesday morning)
Keynote by Eric Evans, "Domain Driven Design" (Wednesday morning)
Workshop "Getting Leaders on Board" led by Mary Poppendieck
General impressions and reactions. -- RonJeffries

The conference seemed very high energy and very healthy to me. Better than last year's, and in my opinion better than ADC as well. Surely a lot of credit goes to the many people who worked to make the venue good and to create events for people to participate in. But events don't make a conference. Even the receptions and parties don't make a conference. It's the attendees and the way they interact.

Some of that interaction surely came from the interesting keynotes and talks, but I think a lot of it probably came from the spirit of the attendees, which was probably a bit happier and healthier this year compared to last.

Here are some reactions to the talk descriptions above.

Avery's talk was good, in my opinion, but not suitable for a keynote. It's worth it for everyone to hear the ideas, surely, but it didn't have the inspiring upward-looking aspects that a great keynote would have.

Mary's talk, on the other hand, was full of energy and pointing to our future. I do have a different take on the issues she raised:

Bob's talk was also inspiring as usual. I take strong issue, however, with the idea that in order to sell to skeptics we need to be skeptics. In order to sell to anyone, we need to sell them what they want. If skeptics want skepticism, then I suppose we could figure out a product for that, but skeptics probably do not want that. At some metaphysical level, perhaps they want something to believe in, but I'm not going there.

People to whom we are selling most likely want better software, sooner, cheaper, on time, on budget, stuff like that. And that's what we have to be offering.

Now to Bob's point: we do need to understand more of what is working and what is not working in agile projects. Curiousity and inquiry, yes. Skepticism? Not in my opinion. Skepticism is cold and closed. Agile is warm, and open.

My understanding of Bob's comments was that to sell to skeptics, we need to be able to understand XP from their perspective. I don't think he's saying we must permanently become the crabbed, bitter negative stereotype of a skeptic; I think he's just saying that we need to deeply understand their point of view to communicate well with them. That's ok by me; I think XP can stand up to a skeptical examination of its methods and results. -- WilliamPietri

Skepticism is a tool, not a destination. We shouldn't get too upset with it. I doubt we'd we be doing XP if we weren't skeptical of people who say "Hey, let's use this phased process - this time it will be different." It seems that warmth and openness need skepticism to thrive. -- MichaelFeathers

If a skeptic chooses a method, it's because s/he understands that method. To sell to skeptics, we need that kind of understanding. -- RcM

I thought the emphasis on qualifying success or failure in UncleBob's talk made a great deal of sense. I also liked CraigLarman's keynote. My main concern with CraigLarman's message is that Agile IS new to many people. IMHO, saying it's nothing new downplays the importance to people who've never heard of it before. I think the data is quite useful, particular if discussing XP practices with Academic institutions (which I think we need to do more). Just my $.02. -- Cheers, JasonNocks

EditText of this page (last edited September 8, 2004)
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